Leading Sydney trainer John O’Shea has criticised the scheduling of the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) that will be held at Royal Randwick this afternoon.
The Spring Champion Stakes is traditionally held on the Royal Randwick Super Saturday race card, which includes the Epsom Handicap (1600m), Flight Stakes (1600m) and The Metropolitan (2400m), but the Australian Turf Club made the decision to push back the three-year-old staying event by a week in 2013.
O’Shea has the favourite Savvy Nature in the race and believes that the change in schedule makes it difficult for trainers to get horses coming out of the Spring Champion Stakes ready for the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m), which is now run only a fortnight later.
“I’m not fan but I don’t program races,” O’Shea told Sky Racing HQ.
“If you have a horse good enough to participate in a Cox Plate you’ve got only ten days in Melbourne and one look at the Valley to prepare them.
“Traditionally Spring Champion horses have gone to Melbourne, had two looks at the Valley and three weeks to prepare them for the biggest race of their life.
“It is probably just a bit tight to be fair.”
While O’Shea is not happen about the schedule for the Spring Champion Stakes he is brimming with praise for leading contender Savvy Nature, who heads into the race on the back of an impressive win in the Group 3 Spring Stakes (1600m) at Newcastle and an unlucky second-place finish behind Complacent in the Group 3 Gloaming Stakes (1800m) at Royal Randwick a fortnight ago.
O’Shea said that the Savabeel gelding has continued to improve and is primed for his maiden Group 1 race this afternoon.
“He has done well at home,” O’Shea said.
“I have done a little bit more work with him this week, he has had some nice gallops, and made a nice progression since his run the other day.
“He is coming along nicely, he came out this morning and bounced away and is going really well.”
O’Shea is chasing his first win in the Spring Champion Stakes after missing the placings with Get Square in 2006.